Certified Specialists

To obtain board certification, candidates must submit evidence of required clinical practice in one of nine specialty areas: Cardiovascular and Pulmonary, Clinical Electrophysiology, Geriatrics, Neurology, Oncology, Orthopaedics, Pediatrics, Sports, and Women’s Health Physical Therapy.

In addition, candidates must successfully complete a rigorous examination, demonstrating specialized knowledge and advanced clinical proficiency in a specialty area of physical therapist practice.

Certifications are valid for 10 years. For recertifications, ABPTS has developed a maintenance model that focuses on continuing competence of the physical therapist specialist. This new “Maintenance of Specialist Certification” model includes the following elements: professional standing and direct patient care hours, commitment to lifelong learning through professional development, practice performance through examples of patient care and clinical reasoning, and cognitive expertise through a test of knowledge in the profession. To date, more than 16,000 physical therapists are board-certified clinical specialists.

ABPTS was established by APTA as the governing body that awards certification to physical therapists who meet approved requirements. ABPTS oversees the physical therapy clinical specialist certification and maintenance of specialist certification programs and awards certificates to physical therapists meeting approved requirements.